Finally got around to finish watching this one, lets get right to it.
Akira Taue, Takuma Sano & Makoto Hashi VS Scorpio, Bull Schmidt & Vinnie Valentino
- This was an OK opener. Hashi played the young disrespectful punk when Scorpio wanted a pre-match hand shake. Schmidt and Valentino look kinda green. Bull looks like ZERO1’s Predator, but seriously needs to put on some weight to fill out his height. Taue was his usual self, but I still wonder whats so special about Takuma Sano. Standard six-man match all the way. **
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura VS KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki
- KENTA was working with a shoulder injury here, so things had to be slowed down a bit. Suguira showed more similarity to Kurt Angle here than just having the Olympic Slam finisher! Add the rolling-Germans and the Ankle Lock as similar moves to his repertoire. Only big diference is Suguira looks more like Gedo than Angle. Big story of the match was mostly Suguira working KENTA’s bad shoulder. Kanemura seemed to sit out most of the bout till the end and Suzuki played his part well. NOAH’s Jrs showed they could also work a good technical bout with this one. ***
Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Masao Inoue VS Daisuke Ikeda, Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji
- Fun start to this one as Scorpio and two other gaijins (I think Modest was one but couldn’t tell who the other was) attacked Misawa’s team before the start of the match. Ikeda’s team helped to run off the gaijins, then turned on their opponents for that night. Ikeda than grabbed Misawa and dragged him to the back stage area followed by everyone else! Ikeda gets Misawa all the way back to his locker room before Misawa regains his senses and drags Ikeda back to the ring! Back in the ring, Marufuji pulled a few comedy spots out of Ogawa before things finally got serious. This was one of those bouts where Misawa was said to be a bit lazy and it showed. Most of the match was worked by Ikeda, Marufuji (who was excellent here) and Inoue. Great stuff near the end when Misawa’s team pulled some WICKED triple team combo attacks on Marufuji. Big spot also when Marufuji tried to plancha Misawa and Ogawa on the outside of the ring, they catch him in mid-air and Misawa Emerald Frosions him on the floor! **1/4
Steve Corino & Tom Howard VS Akitoshi Saito & Jun Akiyama
- It was just EMBARASSING watching Steve Corino here. Former ECW champion? Current MLW Champion? Gaijin ace of ZERO1? He was just a BIG JOKE here! He’s suppose to be representing ZERO1, but all he could think to do was comedy and cheap heat spots. Corino’s partner, Tom Howard, even broke out of his usual tough-guy military character to laugh and shake his head at Corino’s antics. You could even tell Akiyama wishes he were somewhere else other than in this match, which is probably why he didn’t hesitate to drop Corino on his head with an Avalanche Exploder near the end. After this, I’m guessing it’s no wonder we never see Steve Corino in NOAH again! *1/2
Yoshihiro Takayama VS Takeshi Rikio - NWF Heavyweight Title
- The battle of two big bulls. Started off quick with Takayama ducking as Rikioh charges in and rams the corner, but comes back as he catches the big Takayama out of a jumping knee slamming him down hard! Pace slows down a bit for a while as they try trade submission holds, but picks up again near the end as they trade powermoves. Takayama did a good job of making Rikioh look like a credible challenger here. **1/2
Kenta Kobashi VS Tamon Honda - GHC Heavyweight Title
- I was really looking forward to this and was not disappointed. This was a very technical match early on before boiling down to the usual big spot ending. Honda showed his superb grappling ability using all manner of ground and submission holds to wear down the GHC Champ. I’ve never even seen some of the locks he uses here! Kobashi’s willingness to take big bumps to put over his opponents continues as Honda drags Kobashi over the top rope and dropped him on the ramp with a Dead End German and another killer Dead End off the top rope! Kobashi got his own in as he gave Honda two BRUTAL looking half-nelson suplexes and a sleeper suplex. Kobashi carried Honda to the best singles match of Honda’s career right here! Honda really worked his ass off in this one too despite his age and was made to look very credible by one of the best in the business. And I think this is the first time I've seen Honda not use any of his signature headbutts! ****
This was an OK show, the highlight of course being the excellant main event. Everything else was pretty average and I was really expecting more out of the two semi-main events. It would do you no harm to watch the whole event, but you also wouldn’t be missing much if you get just the main event on a compilation. And I hope to NEVER see Steve Corino in a NOAH ring again!